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Patrick Knight

Synapse’s Pat Knight rounded up some interesting observations from the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s recently released April 2020 data. We thought we’d share them here:

Per EIA’s latest data, in April 2020, for the first time ever, monthly nationwide generation from wind and solar plants exceeded nationwide generation from coal plants. Pretty cool!

A few points worth noting:

Beginning the week of March 15, many throughout New England have been living with emergency orders relating to COVID-19. Generally speaking, these orders limit gatherings, non-essential workforces, school openings, and on-site consumption of food and drink. In effect, these orders mean that many New Englanders are staying at home during most or all times of the day.

Today’s electric system is almost unrecognizable from the electric system just a decade ago. Generation from natural gas and renewables has accelerated to replace the rapid and unprecedented retirement of coal-fired generators. Wind, solar, and geothermal electric generating capacity in the United States has now eclipsed capacities from hydroelectric and nuclear resources combined. Carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions have reached their lowest levels since 1984. Meanwhile, both total generation and electric sales have only marginally increased over 10 years.

Get in the Know on AEO: A guide to EIA’s latest energy projection through 2050

On January 29, 2020, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) released the 2020 Annual Energy Outlook (AEO). AEO 2020 contains projections of energy use from the electric power, residential, commercial, industrial, and transportation sectors through 2050. AEO 2020’s Reference case does not represent a forecast; instead, it’s a projection based on estimates of fuel availability, changes in technology costs, and current legislation.

Today’s electric system is almost unrecognizable from the electric system a decade ago. Generation from natural gas and renewables has accelerated to replace the rapid and unprecedented retirement of coal-fired generators. Wind, solar, and geothermal electric generating capacity in the United States has now eclipsed capacities from hydroelectric and nuclear resources combined. Carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions have reached their lowest levels since 1987. Meanwhile, both total generation and electric sales have held relatively steady for 10 years.

Today’s electric system is almost unrecognizable from the electric system a decade ago. Generation from natural gas and renewables has accelerated to replace the rapid and unprecedented retirement of coal-fired generators. Wind, solar, and geothermal electric generating capacity in the United States has now eclipsed capacities from hydroelectric and nuclear resources combined.

On January 17, 2018, ISO New England (“ISO”) released a draft of its Operational Fuel Security Analysis. This study lays out many different possibilities for a 2024/25 winter, assessing the electric grid’s reliability under a varying array of assumptions. ISO’s main finding is clear: adding more renewables and more imports, and increasing the availability of LNG deliveries and backup oil during supply emergencies, will all contribute to improved system reliability.

On September 15, 2016, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) released the final results of the Annual Energy Outlook (AEO) 2016. AEO is a critical source of information for public interest stakeholders in the energy sector.

At a webinar last week, New Perspectives on RGGI and the Massachusetts Global Warming Solutions Act,” Synapse’s Dr. Elizabeth A. Stanton hosted Senior Associate Pat Knight and Mass Energy Consumer Alliance’s Larry Chretien for a discussion of Synapse’s RGGI modeling work and the recent Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court decision on the Massachusetts Global Warming Solutions Act.

Data released May 26 by the EIA shows that March 2016 was a historically low month for coal generation in the United States. National coal generation dropped to just 72 TWh, the lowest level of monthly coal generation measured since April 1978 (see Figure 1). While before 2015 it was uncommon for natural gas generation to approach equivalent levels of coal generation, in March 2016 nearly 1.5 times as much electricity was produced from natural gas-fired generators as coal-fired generators.

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